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By Philo  
I have read many accounts on epz of people running into trouble by trying to take a photograph. I had my first experience of this at the weekend when I went to watch my nephew, Scott Wagstaff, play for Charlton at Huddersfield. We were directed by the steward into the central seating in the stand so I asked him if it would be okay for me to sit in the far left during the warm up to take some photo's. He said this was fine so off I went. 30 seconds later I was asked to move by another steward. I explained the situation and she said I couldn't take photo's from here as the control room did not know what type of camera I was using. "What type of camera would you find offensive" I asked but it was to no avail and I was moved on.
Anyway back to the shots. I was wondering whether I could have done any better here as I was really hoping for more background blur as I was wide open at maximum focal length. Was I just too far away for this lens?
Camera settings: f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 100, -2/3EV
As usual comments and mods welcome.

Tags: Charlton Scott wagstaff Sports and action

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Graham-Mead 11 12 9 England
1 Sep 2010 7:48PM
I have done a little mod on V2. All I did was crop in a bit closer then I selected the player and inversed it, this was followed by a touch of gaussian blur, finally a little unsharp. I wasn't very accurate but you can see what I mean.
This can apply to all the shots as there is a lot going on in the backgrounds all of which leads your eye away from the subject.
I hope this has been of some help.
Philo 11 99 83 England
1 Sep 2010 8:10PM
Graham, that is more like the look I was after but I really wanted to achieve it in camera. Many thanks for taking the time though.
davey_griffo 12 213 165 England
1 Sep 2010 8:42PM
I think that part of the poblem may be the 4/3rds camera you're using. As the sensor is smaller & the lens mount closer to it, you do get more DoF. Great for landscapes, but not for creative blur.

You may also be onto something with the distance. That also increases DoF.

I wouldn't worry about it myself, at least not in these shots. I like environmental partraits. The surroundings put the subject into context nicely. If it weren't for the stands, he could be some bloke down the park, rather than a pro footballer.

Look at the press shots. They sometimes have the crowd visible in the background. At these sort of distances, they'll be using fast (f2.8) pro-spec lenses to get shallow DoF, & full-frame, pro-spec camera's.

Sometimes, you just have to work with what you have (and can afford), find it's limitations, & work within them. So what if you can't blur the background. Use it as you have to get some atmosphere from the fans.
really like v1, just added a bit of background blur to give an idea
Philo 11 99 83 England
1 Sep 2010 9:16PM
Thanks Dave, you have just confirmed what I suspected. I had one of those moments when I thought I was maybe missing something and getting a touch frustrated.
Philo 11 99 83 England
1 Sep 2010 9:19PM
Sean, as with Graham's mod, I like the effect I just wish it came out of the camera like that. I just need to accept the limitations of my gear.
danh 11 61 36 United Kingdom
1 Sep 2010 11:01PM
Gotta do it with your gear. The modding looks artificial and distracts from the quality of the image, despite it being such an early effort at sports photography. Learn your art, save for your equipment. Please don't resort to cheating with sports photography.
davey_griffo 12 213 165 England
2 Sep 2010 7:23AM
The mods look fake, because Graham & Sean only did them quickly to illustrate a point. IE, that it can be done. If you take your time on the selection, and layer the blur going into the distance, it can look very effective. Still a damn sight easier to do in camera though, but if you haven't got pro gear, you have little other choice.
davey_griffo 12 213 165 England
2 Sep 2010 7:41AM

I selected the area from the 2nd players feet upwards, added 20 pixels feather, created a new layer from the selection, applied 4 pixels radius Gaussian blur, then cut a Waggy shaped hole in it with a layer mask.

Then, I selected from the barrier up & did the same, cutting a hole for the 2nd player as well.

This has given a more realistic blur that increases into the distance.

My selections may need a little more refinement, but again I did it "quick n dirty". You being obviously quite proud of Waggy, would take more time on this, I'm sure, whereas, as a Liverpool fan, I couldn't quite bring myself to care. Smile

I admit I chose the easiest shot. The first 2 with more players in the shot would be a much more tricky selection. I'd stick with calling them environmental portraits myself, & embrace what your camera can do, rather wish for the things it can't.
Philo 11 99 83 England
2 Sep 2010 7:52AM
Thanks Dave I really appreciate your efforts and I may just have a go at that as an exercise. However, I will be sticking to your advice and just working within the limits of my equipment as the kind of lens I need simply isn't going to happen in the short term. As a Liverpool fan, have you seen anything of Jonjo Shelvey? He was Charlton's best player and came through the youth and reserve teams with Scott.
paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
2 Sep 2010 8:01AM
Your experience typifies the 'Little Hitler' syndrome we get more and more with stewards, PCO's and the like. Give people a little power....

All your images are quite good, V3 being the best technically but the weakest from an action point of view. The background is, indeed, the problem on bothe the others - that is why the pro's use a 400mm f2.8 at 2.8! Blur the background.

I don't like doing this in software. You need to be very skilled to make it look right, and in camera is better.

Not sure if the Olympus, with it's small sensor would be capable, but I would set aperture priority at the widest aperture and see what happens.

Philo 11 99 83 England
2 Sep 2010 8:52AM
Hi Paul, V1 & V2 were taken during the warm up right in front of the goal so it was fairly easy to catch them shooting. Unfortunately I couldn't catch him in action during the match as he was never close enough. V3 was one of the few times he got close enough to me. I was shooting in aperture priority and f5.6 is the widest available at 150mm on this lens.
Philo 11 99 83 England
2 Sep 2010 3:26PM
Thanks Frank, it certainly took a good deal of self control to stay calm. I didn't make a too much of a fuss as I wasn't actually getting any good shots from that position. He's making great progress although England looks a long way away at the moment. You never know though!
Charlton is a hell of a long way from Leeds so we tend to watch the away games against northern teams. We should be heading your way to Tranmere at some point.
StevenPrice 17 30 2 England
22 Sep 2010 12:27PM
Hi Phil
there is a problem with being allowed to take pictures at league football matches, Please dont blame the steward as it is not the Stewards fault tbh, the reason there are no football league images posted on this site anymore is that a company called dataco controls the images rights, so anyone who posted anything could end up in big trouble with them, as for Frank's comment about the club not being able to stop you taking photographs, I am afraid you are very much mistaken, the club would be quite within their rights to eject you from the ground if they wanted to, I have not looked myself but have been told it is part of the terms & conditions when you purchase your tickets no photography allowed. I personally shoot football league matches most weekends but would not dare to post any on Ephotozine now as i would risk losing my accreditation if i did so. if you would like anymore information on this please dont hesitate to PM me.
I am sorry for the long winded comment but thought it might help in clearing things up.

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